The Straits Times
Published on Oct 03, 2012

Italian businessman stages protest vigil on Vatican dome


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - An Italian businessman perched perilously near the top of the 130 metre dome of St Peter's Basilica for a second day on Wednesday, after scaling it to protest government austerity measures.

"I love life so much that I'm willing to risk it. If the Italian government wants to kill people that's fine, but they have to do it in front of millions of people," Mr Marcello Di Finizio told Corriere della Sera by telephone.

Crowds of tourists, curious bystanders and pilgrims in St Peter's Square ogled at the sight of the defiant Mr Di Finizio, who remained in clear view while Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly general audience to thousands of faithful.

Mr Di Finizio, a beach resort owner, managed to slip over the rails surrounding the dome on Tuesday to gasps from tourists around him, before lowering himself with a rope onto a ledge.